At just 17-years-old, Cory McKenna is already forging a credible name for herself among the amateur ranks, having captured championships in two different weight classes.
McKenna (7-0), who already holds the 115lb amateur championship for Colchester based promotion BCMMA, also captured their flyweight belt at BCMMA 19 this past Saturday.
However, after original opponent Gabriella Ringblom withdrew from the bout, McKenna seemed to be stranded without an opponent for May 6. Had it not been for the resolute of BCMMA matchmaker Jack Mason, that certainly may have been the case, but he was able to find a comparable replacement in two-time International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) silver medallist Anette Österberg.
The Finnish substitution actually fought Ringblom at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships, dropping a decision to the Swede in the finals of the tournament.
With the showdown set, McKenna; who is the younger daughter of professional MMA athlete Wendy McKenna, was granted an opportunity to test her talent against a four-time IMMAF veteran and it’s safe to say, despite Österberg’s reach advantage, the Brit fought in a manner beyond her years.
The BKK Fighters talent showed disregard for Österberg’s range, exhibiting great boxing movement to get on the inside and challenge the Fin. This, mixed in with some strong takedowns and top control likely gave McKenna the advantage leading into the final round.
But having fought some of the best amateurs in the world, Österberg wasn’t giving up easily, as she handily controlled the final three minutes and even looked close to finishing her opponent with a standing guillotine attempt. Alas, it wasn’t enough, as the judges awarded the fight to McKenna, who at such an adolescent age, had just captured her second amateur title.
Under IMMAF policy, McKenna is ineligible to compete until turning 18-years-old, but as Saturday night proved, it could be a viable path for her to follow, especially with her links to UK Amateur MMA national team coach John Maguire.
As for her next step, McKenna was originally slated to face Team UK national amateur Beckie Ainscough at Tanko FC 4 on May 12, but has since confirmed to MMA Plus that the bout has now been cancelled. She will now fly out to Sacramento, California in early June to train at the world renowned Team Alpha Male gym, which is headed by 2017 UFC Hall of Fame inductee Urijah Faber and is the home to current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.